Regarding Kevin Mitchell’s guest commentary, “Blocking airline a threat to Boeing workers,” criticizing Rep. Rick Larsen’s sponsorship of H.R. 5090; Mitchell leaves out key pieces in his argument for allowing Norwegian Air International (NAI) to operate in the U.S.
He uses the names Norwegian Air and NAI interchangeably when in fact they are related business-wise, but operate under different rules.
Norwegian Air does have a long history of doing business with Boeing, as Mitchell points out, however, the airline at the center of this controversy, NAI, does not; it is only two years old and was created as a subsidiary of Norwegian Airlines with the sole purpose of being incorporated outside of Norway to allow circumventing the more stringent employment requirements of that country.
In other words, NAI is free to outsource its work force to any of a host of low-labor cost countries, which is the concern of both the Air Line Pilots Association and the IAM; there is no sacrificing of the interests of one union for the sake of another as Mitchell’s piece claims.
Mitchell is simply an evangelist for cheap business travel and has no experience or insight into the actual workings of the airline industry. As someone who has spent 40 years in both union and management positions in the commercial airline business, I am convinced that allowing an airline to go the cheap route is not only unfair to competing U.S. airlines but also a potential safety risk. I applaud Rep. Larsen’s sponsoring of H.R. 5090.